This article is written to let Olin students know about the changes the Academic Facilities Committee has inspired at Olin. Some of these changes evolved from a desire to improve the school and others in response to certain events last year.
The machine shops in particular have had several changes based on recommendations from the Facilities Summer Interns. First, the first year training on green machines has been switched from occurring during orientation to during the first three weeks of the semester. The shop orientation time was used instead for an informal tour of the facilities, including a discussion on the capabilities of the machine shops and the importance of safety and stewardship.
The Facilities Summer Interns also created and posted laminated instruction cards in the shops. The cards also include helpful tips on how to machine parts more effectively. There are now two on-call NINJAS, Ben Smith and Robert McMullen, who are available to students needing assistance outside of main-shop hours.
Additionally, the Olin College Operations group completed installation of video surveillance cameras in the shops in the Academic Center. This was done to enhance the safety of students and all the Olin community. There was a serious incident involving one of the machines in the mini-metal shops in April 2012 that made clear the importance of the installation of cameras in all shops. The rooms in which cameras have been installed are AC103, AC 104, AC106, AC 108 and AC 207. Olin College is committed to providing a safe environment to all students, and the cameras are meant to improve our safety program.
Finally, the AFC has hired Ethan Labowitz for the position of Instructor of Design and Fabrication. Ethan is a metalworker, teacher, and small business owner. Prior to Olin, he taught metalworking at Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, MA, and at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Ethan also runs a small fabrication and consulting firm called BICEP (The Boston Institute for Clean Energy Prototyping).
As the new Instructor of Design and Fabrication, Ethan will be the primary supervisor of the Large Project Building and will instruct and assist students in the safe and effective use of fabrication tools. He will also assist the academic competition teams such as Baja, Sailbot, and HPV in the completion of their projects.
The AFC is interested in being an active part of the Olin community and would love to hear recommendations on how to improve the use of Olin’s academic facilities.
Students with suggestions can feel free to talk to Ben Smith or Jackie Rose, the two student members of the AFC.